Scientist retracts paper that suggests religious children are “mean”

Professor Decety's paper had initially claimed that a children of devout religious parents exhibit less altruistic behaviour. But after reexamining his paper he backpedalled his claims and requested the paper be withdrawn

Professor Jean Decety, based at the University of Chicago, recently retracted his contentious study that stated that religion makes children meaner and less generous.

Decety admitted to making a “stupid mistake” in the paper which was published 4 years ago in the Current Biology journal. He said that the country of origin rather than religion played a bigger role in whether children became generous or not.

The retraction was called when several psychologists highlighted errors in the manner of data collection.

The journal said the study has been scrapped at the ‘request of the authors’.

A statement was posted on the website from Professor Decety’s team stating, “An error in this article, our incorrect inclusion of country of origin as a covariate in many analyses, was pointed out… we apologize to the scientific community for any inconvenience caused.”

The paper titled ‘The Negative Association Between Religiousness And Children’s Altruism Across The World’ has originally garnered a lot of attention since it claimed children of religiously devout parents to be less altruistic in nature.

However, Decety backpedalled on his claims after a slew of scientists criticized his contentious research method.


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